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April 19, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-19

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Page 4- The Michigan Daily -Friday, April 19,1991
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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Opinion Editors

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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City needs more than new buildings to cure economic ills

°" ,

L ooking at the skyline in Detroit, one would
guess that the city is burgeoning with economic
growth. Every few years, a new, towering sky-
scraper shoots up, changing the physique of the
downtown area, and giving the appearance of a
revitalized business climate in the city.
But a closer examination reveals the true, bleak
reality of Detroit. The raw facts illustrate that the
city has had very little new business in more than
10 years, and the constant construction taking
place downtown does little more than solidify the
empty shell the city has become.
Admittedly, new skyscrapers in Detroit have
little difficulty filling their corridors. The Madden
Building - which finished construction last year
-- filled up before it was even completed. And the
newest concrete excursion - One Detroit Center
- already has more than 90 percent occupancy
contracted, despite the fact that it has barely even
gotten off the ground.
But the tenants in these buildings are not opti-
mistic new investors in the Detroit area. Instead,
they are businesses which have become accustomed
to playing "musical chairs" every so often in the
city, moving from one new building to the next,
and leaving a vast amount of unoccupied office
space downtown. Comerica Bank - which cur-
rently owns its own building near Cobo Arena -
recently signed a lease for space in One Detroit
Center, which will leave 11 floors in its present
building vacant.
And Comerica is not alone. There are currently
72 million square feet of unoccupied office space

downtown, and this undeniably points to a major
problem the city's administration has largely chosen
to ignore: Detroit must find better ways to attract
business than merely constructing new buildings.
The city reverted to this practice after many
long-time business establishments abandoned the
downtown area in the early 1980s - the most
prominent of which was the J.L. Hudson Company.
Needless to say, the economic "flight" from the
city to the suburbs - and to other metropolitan
centers - left a large hole in the city's financial
But the mannerin which the city's administration
has chosen to combat this situation has only ex-
acerbated the problem. By granting large tax
abatements and attempting to sell off valuable city
property at criminally low prices -all to construct
these concrete monsters - the city has stabbed
itself in the back. Supposedly, the money brought
in by new businesses would have paid for these
actions. But as of yet, neither the businesses nor the
money have yet to materialize - and perhaps they
never will.
Now, the city has some tough choices to make.
It is painfully obvious that the current course of
action is not working; there are plenty of shiny new
buildings downtown but very few new businesses
to match. Detroit must reconcentrate its efforts to
get new business downtown, taking the focus off of
physical growth and putting it on real economic
growth. Only this way will the city's financial
future be profitable - or even secure.

Base closins
Efforts to cut defense budget should not focus on workers
S ecretary of Defense Dick Cheney recently much of its usefulness is questionable. The B-1 and
announced a controversial plan to cut 31 ma- B-2 bombers continue to sap the treasury of hun-
jormilitaryinstallations,12 smallerones and shrink dreds of billions of dollars every year in an attempt
28 others. This planis a successor to the 1990 plan, to make them, finally, fully operational. President
scrapped by Congress, to shut down some 90 Bush still dreams of a Strategic Defense Initiative
military installations. Since the end of the Cold to protect us from an enemy who no longer exists.
War, many have called for drastic reductions in the Cutting programs such as these is what needs to be
military budget, including the Democrats now done.
fighting Cheney's plan in Congress. Any step to However the Pentagon acts to curb its spending,
reduce the trillions spent in the military-industrial it and Congress must make certain the American
cmplex is a welcome one. But, Cheney's plan, as economy is not inundated with untrained and un-
p'oposed, threatens the welfare of thousands of employed workers. Secretary Cheney is encouraged
wprking Americans, yet still fails to make signifi- to continue slashing the defense budget, but its
cqnt progress in budget-reduction. devastating effect on the working class needs to be
The Cheney plan comes dangerously close to buffered and reduced, so that the solution to one
wrecking local economies. Arkansas will lose half problem does not create a host of others.
oe its military jobs, with the closing of Eaker Air
Farce Base and Fort Chafee. California will suffer Environmental disaster
the most, losing nearly 30,000jobs. Congressional
representatives are understandably frustrated. T he initial uproar caused by the announce-
There is no question that needless installations ment of the base closings will undoubtedly
need to be phased out. But, care needs to be taken obscure a more important issue that lurks below
to protect the 520,000 workers who will be let go the surface. Since the end of World War II, the
by 1996. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), an military has used its extensive property hold-
ardent supporter of slashing the Pentagon budget, ings around the country as a dumping ground
calls Cheney's proposal "unwise and unfair." A for unwanted and extremely dangerous mate-
plan for peaceful conversion, which would trans- rials. Now the Pentagon, faced with an im-
plant workers formerly a part of the military- pending property liquidation to pay its bills, has
industrial complex, into new working positions - an additional decision to make: Either shell out
or at least offer job-training - needs to be formu- the additional millions it would take to clean up
lated and presented to Congress in conjunction these bases so that they can be sold, or continue
with Cheney's proposal. its policy of procrastination, and leave these
Dumping 500,000 soldiers and working-class bases vacant for years.
Ainericans into the world of unemployment may From forests littered with unexploded shells
have consequences more difficult to correct. from some long-ago target practice to contami-
For all the dangers in Cheney's plan, the pro- nated groundwater sources from decades of
posal offers few benefits. Certainly budget cuts careless chemicaldumping,the U.S. government
need to be made. But, while the proposal will - in particular, the U.S. military - has been
devastate local economies, it will save only $800 America's worst polluter.
million during the next five years. Secretary Cheney Exempt from even the most lenient statutes
etpects the closings to cost $5.7 billion until 1996, regulating the runoff from research facilities
arid save $6.5 billion during the same period. Only and the storage of its toxic waste, these bases
after 1998 will the Pentagon save as much as $1.7 have poisoned the acreage they occupy so badly
billion every year. that the cleanup costs would be many times the
Announcing the closing of40installations leaves profit the military could hope to make from the
the American people with the idea that Uncle Sam sale of the land. So, when the troops and sup-
is, finally making giant, drastic cuts. The cuts porting personnel move outlaterthis year, many
appear more drastic than giant. of these bases will lie empty.
The American tax-payers must be careful to If the land that these now-defunct military
ensure that the Pentagon continues to make serious installations occupies is ever to be used pro-
reductions in the American military machine - ductively, the Pentagon must make the initial
cuts that amount to more than $800 million. Mil- investment, and clean up the mess it made.
tary weaponry is continually being produced, and

Keep Dooder
To the Daily:
"Dooder State College" by
Alan Landau is the funniest comic
I've ever seen in my life. Please
axe "Calvin And Hobbes" instead.
Carl Dahlberg
LSA fifth-year student
Enough Dooder
State letters!
To the Daily:
I think we've just about had it
with all these complaints about
Alan Landau's strip "Dooder
State College." Don't these
people have anything better to do?
I do.
I should be writing a paper
that's already 12 days late. I hope
my TA doesn't see this.
Dan Mason
Second-year student,
School of Natural Resources
MSA is a joke
To the Daily:
I've been hearing a lot around
campus lately about the fact that
only 13 percent of our student
body voted in the recent MSA
elections, and a lot of people are
wondering why.
One of the main reasons is that
many people laugh at MSA and
consider the whole thing a joke,
which it is. What has MSA ever
done for the student body besides
rally for issues they believe in,
spend our money or deal with
foreign policy issues? If things
were done in the students'
interests, then more students
would take an interest in MSA
and what it does.
The reasons student give for
not voting in MS A elections are
much the same as ones a lot of
American citizens give for not
voting in any governmental
election; power is concentrated
within a few of the elite, and they
will always do as they please.

This is essentially what MSA
Things that are said in
campaigns are never heard again
once elections are over and
someone has won. If MSA
actually dealt wich student issues
and represented the interests of
the majority of students around
campus, then more would being
to look seriously at MSA.
Brandy King
LSA first-year student
Israel's fault?
To the Daily:
I was wondering about the
thought process of those who
organized the Ramadan rally
("Muslims protest Zionism, rally
for Palestinian rights," 4/16/91).
Let me see if I can understand
their reasoning:
Iraq invades Kuwait, murders
its people and loots the country.
Iraq launches Scud missiles at
civilian targets in Israel and Saudi
Arabia, endangering not only
Jews, but Christians and Muslims.
While the world's attention is
focused on the Gulf, Syria
cements her control over Leba-
non, killing hundreds of Muslim
and Christian Arabs.
Before being driven out of
Kuwait, Iraq sets 600 oil wells on
fire, which poses a huge ecologi-
cal danger to the largely Muslim
Middle East, not to mention India.
In the civil war following her
defeat, Iraq indiscriminately
shells civilian areas, killing
thousands of Shiites and Kurds.
Iraq defeats Kurdish rebels
and drives outr hundreds of
thousands of Kurds.
So, what do they do to
celebrate their holiday?.They
have an anti-semitic rally against
Israel. Seems to make sense.
Ken Goldstein
Rackham graduate student
Give us
the downside
To the Daily:
Once again the Daily has
muddled its journalistic efforts,

this time on the bet'alf of the
Greek system.
After running a week's worth
of positive stories about. the
"service" activities sponsored
during Greek Week, the Daily
then at -mpted a hard news story
about drug use in fraternities
("Could it happen here?" Week-
end, 4/12/91). Neither of which
has served to illustrate the other
side of Greek life, the downside.
Indeed, these stories are proof
that the Greek system can get
away with anything, under the
guise of a positive social organi-
zation. While the focus of Greek
Week may be to provide funds for
various charities, this takes place
during only one week. The other
51 weeks of the year, the Greek
system manages to fund hundreds
of parties, where drinking is a
main attraction and social
responsibility is hardly an issue.
While certain members of
these organizations - their
administration and the Intra-
Fraternity Council - work
toward a better image, they are
also denying the undercurrents
which cause the Greek system to
be denounced by many non-
members. Closed parties and
other similar tactics are not going
to stop the cultivation and
protection of attitudes which are
dangerous toward the public.
Instead of reading about Greek
lawlessness in glowing stories, we
would be better served with
unbiased stories of change.
Elizabeth Britten
LSA first-year student
around this
Come write
for the Daily
Opinion Page!
For more info.,
call Mary Beth or
Jay at 764-0552


ing the end of hitoryi
Mlarke tmgnt h e end of tr

It doesn't take agenius to figure
out that the Soviet Union is falling
apart. And hence it shouldn't come
as a surprise that scores of pundits
and analysts are dissecting its de-
mise. Or
that they are
predicting B
both the
collapse of
commu- & .
nism and,
most fa-
mously, the
"end of his-M
tory" - an Mike
epoch in Fischer
which the
clear supe-
riority of
the West and of the free market can
be taken for granted.
But history has a funny way of
refusing to die. And it has a long,
man__Pan ernncn nof

Soviet Union.
The current drama there does
not revolve around Yeltsin and
Gorbachev, and it is not taking place
in Moscow. The real action in
today's Soviet Union is in the
coalfields, where hundreds of thou-
sands of Soviet miners are on strike
and where, as a consequence, coal
production is down by 82 percent.
The miners are not walking be-
cause they want Yeltsin and his free
market proposals. 57 percent of
Soviet workers are opposed to large-
scale private property. Less than
half of them believe that a person
should be allowed to hire other
workers; three-fifths of those who
support hired labor believe that it
should be strictly limited.
At the end of 1988,40 percentof
the Soviet people were in favor of
rationing. By the end of 1989, that
number had risen to 58 percent.
Gnrachev's1 9RR derision to lift

many. Current estimates for the
Soviet Union project 40 million
layoffs if Gorbachev - or Yeltsin,
or anyone else - introduces full-
blooded market reforms.
That is why the spanking new
platform of the Soviet Union's na-
tional miners' union - formed af-
ter the wave of strikes that swept the
country in 1989 - specifically and
explicitly rejects both the free
market and capitalist relations of
production. It calls for democracy
- and for socialism. And it desig-
nates centralized planning as "one
of the great inventions of the
twentieth century."
Soviet miners are on strike be-
cause they have the audacity to
believe that they can have both so-
cialism and democracy, both eco-
nomic security and freedom. Put
another way, Soviet miners are on
strike because they want - and
deserve - both bread and roses.

Nuts and Bolts
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by Judd Winick

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